And in a world where opinion oftentimes holds sway, that’s kind of a big deal.
His ability to think independently has helped shape his business: a multi-strategy investment firm focused on providing access to blockchain technology and digital assets for institutional clients. It’s also helped him become one of the leading voices in the cryptocurrency revolution.
He’s never been shy about his opinions, and we’re always grateful for some forward-thinking insight into the new age of cryptocurrency. First?
We’re riding the new wave of cryptocurrency, but it’s still new. While it seems like you can’t get away from the idea of cryptocurrency, the numbers reflect a different reality – that people are still skiddish about this new frontier. “You’re going to think that, let’s say, 40, 50 million people probably have interacted with cryptocurrency, I think I’ve seen estimates say. Out of a world with 7 billion people, it’s essentially nothing. Those of us that are like really, really deep in the weeds sometimes forget how early this stuff is. It’s also when you’re reminded that it’s super exciting. I think that we’re super early and hopefully, that the industry will continue to mature quickly.”
He put his money where his mouth is and built his company around crypto. We’d been in and around fintech and similar trends. When we saw the opportunity with blockchain and crypto, it just became so obvious to us that not only was it going to be a big part of the future but also there were tons of really smart, successful entrepreneurs that were running into the space and they were going to need investors to partner with. We said, rather than this be kind of 25 or 30% of our focus, if we make it 100% of our focus, let’s go try to be the best in the world at this one thing. That really led us to double and triple down and do so in a public way.
And he’s used to putting things out in public.
That viral tweet helped people engage the cryptocurrency conversation. The conversation around our financial institutions isn’t easy to understand. So to be able to capture the essence of the new wave of finance and tech in a simple sentence? Not easy. But that’s what Pompliano was able to do with a tweet that read “LONG BITCOIN, SHORT THE BANKERS!” How did it hit such a nerve? “That system is based on a deflationary asset as the single unit of account. It’s run by algorithms and machines. It is built for the future and exists in a digital world. The bankers, you have this image in your head of like a bunch of old white guys with top hat sit in the backroom smoking cigars and trying to figure out how to screw people over. The “bankers,” it’s like us versus them. Who the hell is them? It’s this nameless, faceless thing but short the bankers, nobody likes the banks. You don’t like the banks for a whole bunch of reasons. They consistently have one of the worst brand recognition or brand sentiment across all industries year in, year out. It’s because they’re getting people’s money and people don’t like when somebody messes with their money. The short the bankers is to short the old system. We’re moving to a new system. I think that the new system is more powerful and better positioned for the future than the old system. That sentence really encapsulates that to me, but the paragraph or the sentence means something different to everybody. I think that’s why so many people have been attracted to it and run with it as this rallying cry.”
Managing a business is complicated enough, but managing one in this tumultuous landscape is another feat, altogether. How does he do it? He has one easy takeaway:
Stay transparent. “We think that the authenticity and the transparency of saying what we believe when we believe it and having the vulnerability of being wrong in public is actually important. We wish more people would do that. I think that’s really where you see this no fear approach to saying what we believe and fully being aware that if we are wrong in public, it will be painful and so we better do our work and make sure that what we say is what we believe and has a high probability of being right. Or else, we’re going to feel the pain for it later. It’s the ultimate skin in the game, if you will.”
Want to hear more from this innovator? Check out our full podcast here.